Qantas Accused of Homophobia and ‘Blatant Discrimination’ by Passenger

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Qantas has been accused of ‘blatant homophobia and discrimination’ by a female passenger, who says her partner was asked to change seats in favour of an elderly couple.

Victorian woman Kristina Antoniades said the incident began just prior to their flight from Brisbane to Melbourne, when her partner Merrin, was told prior to the flight that her seat had been changed, according to Travel Talk.

Ms Antoniades described the interaction on Facebook, explaining that after refusing to swap seats for the married couple in order to remain together, Merrin was reissued her original boarding pass and the trio boarded the flight.

“Once the plane took off the flight manager asked why Merrin was seated next to the man and his wife seated behind them. I again advised the flight manager that we were a family and wanted to be seated together,” she posted.

Kristina Antoniades (left), with her partner Merrin Hicks. Photo: Facebook

Kristina Antoniades (left), with her partner Merrin Hicks. Photo: Facebook

“She demanded to see our boarding passes. We produced them and again she asked why we were not allowing the married couple to be seated together. I again told her that Merrin was my partner and Lily our daughter.

“I told her we had just as much right to be seated together as the married couple. She simply walked away. She did not offer an apology.”

The pair was travelling in business class with their daughter, reports Travel Talk. But Antoniades said Qantas staff hadn’t acknowledged they were a family and wanted to sit together.

“I told her we had just as much right to be seated together as the married couple. She simply walked away. She did not offer an apology.”

“I have never experienced such blatant discrimination,” Ms Antoniades posted. “It was a terrible experience and I am saddened that our daughter had to witness this.”

Qantas, whose chief executive Alan Joyce is openly gay, said the company is very active in supporting LBGTQI rights – as shown by its involvement in this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, reports SBS.

“We’ve got a strong diversity program at Qantas,” the spokesperson said.

Qantas put the incident down to an “unfortunate misunderstanding” and did not acknowledge that the mistake had anything to do with homophobia.

“From our point of view, it doesn’t seem to about sexuality at all, our crew was just attempting to seat an elderly couple together,” a Qantas spokesperson told SBS.

About Author

Lisa Nikolau

Lisa Nikolau is a freelance writer who has been specializing in travel, culture and current events since 2012. She currently writes on travel and news related topics for YouTravel.com.au.She has traveled to Peru, throughout west and eastern Europe, and has lived in southern Spain.At the moment, Lisa’s favorite pastimes are learning foreign languages, exploring hiking trails in the Olympic National Forest, and ending the day with friends at one of Seattle’s many microbreweries.